Love on the Left Eye

Running only a couple more days in the Tokyo-based Taka Ishii Gallery: the beautiful exhibition named ‘Love on the Left Eye’ by 74-years old Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. The exhibition, Araki’s twenty-first with Taka Ishii Gallery, consists of 65 prints which have been selected from the photographer’s most recent work. The title of the exhibition refers to possibly the most famous Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken’s 1954 book ‘Love on the Left Bank.’ When Araki was around twenty years old, he saw ‘Love on the Left Bank,’ and from a continued inspiration he now took photographs of women in poses inspired by the work of van der Elsken. ‘Love on the Left Eye’ therefore can be seen as an homage to van der Elsken, but also shows a very personal side of the Japanese photographer. Since October of last year, Araki has been largely unable to see out of his right eye due to a retinal artery obstruction, which is reflected directly in the right side of the photographs which are blacked out with magic marker.

The loss of half of his sight hasn’t stopped Araki a bit, and the photographer has continued to shoot with unchanged vigor: in total, this series consists of hundreds of images. Araki shot the photographs that make up ‘Love on the Left Eye’ on slide film, and, before making any prints, he filled up the right side of the film with a black magic marker. The printed photographs, then, directly reflect Araki’s vision: the left side of each image is clear, but the right side is clouded. Next to the mentioned health problems Araki recently also recovered from prostate cancer.

Death comes towards us all, you know, I don’t want to approach it myself, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s coming. You just have to laugh it off!

These words show Araki’s energetic approach to his work, and this series, which reflects the Araki of today, could indeed be seen as a declaration, which the photographer believes dearly, that photography is life.

The ‘Love on the Left Eye’ exhibition is a collaboration of the Taka Ishii Gallery and Shashinkosha. The beautiful soft cover book that has been published in conjunction with the exhibition was only available in a very limited edition of 300 and has been sold out.

We love the beauty and relentless ethic which show in this fascinating series!

For more information see here.